Electrical Engineer to Master Electrician (((( New York State ))))

I'm a degreed electrical engineer with several years experience in networking. I am an EIT and not a PE. I would like to know what steps I have to take to become either a master or journeyman electrician.

Specifically, I know that, in general, electricians have to take vocational type classes that include a little theory, a lot of practical and national electric code. Then they have to be an apprentice for some period of time.


  1. Obviously, I'll have to learn the NEC, but do (should) I take the practical courses? ( I bet I know the theory, but if anyone thinks different, let me know).

  1. Do I have to do the apprenticeship and, if so, then do I get any breaks in terms of the length of the apprenticeship.

The last bit of info is, I'm in New York.



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You need to determine the requirements for licensing in New York. Should be easy to determine on the internet. In Minnesota a person with an electrical engineering degree can take the Master electrician test (but not Journeyman) with no experience. This allows EEs who design electrical systems to sign-off on the designs as a master electrician. (The state does not require EEs for any permit.)

An electrician needs to know electrical theory. This is probably a relatively minor percentage of total related knowledge unless you are designing relatively large facilities or complicated (like many motors) facilities. Understanding circuits and electronics also gives you an edge designing or troubleshooting controls and electronics, which may not be "electrician" work.

Electricians also need to know the code. This is a steep learning curve. Your training will help you understand why the code is written the way it is, as it almost always makes sense. But it does not help you knowing what the code requires. Then there is the second step of what the words mean when you are actually installing wiring. A lot of this can be picked up in classes. Check local trade schools, maybe night classes or classes for keeping electricians up to date on the code or code changes. (The NEC is revised every 3 years.) You can pick a lot up from books. Then there is learning by reading the code - it ain't easy. The NEC is a lot easier to read once you know it.

Another area you need to learn is practical. What are the tools of the trade and how do you use them. For instance how to put a 12" offset in a conduit run. Also how to get wiring between 2 points, switch heights, and a whole set of other details.

This is a whole lot to learn. Working with an experienced electrician is one of the best ways to learn it - the logic behind apprentice programs.

What are you interested in? Design, installation? Do you like to work with your hands? Houses, large residential, commercial, industrial? New construction, renovation, small jobs, industrial maintenance? Own your own company, work for someone? Large, small company? Union, IBEW, is another question.

I know of 4 EEs that worked as electricians. Two were happy as a residential electrical contractor. Another got bored and left.


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The basic requirement for becoming a journeyman electrician is 8000 hours of on the job training as an apprentice working under the supervision of a master or journeyman electrician that is working for a licensed electrical contractor and passing a 4 - hour written test. The on the job training can include up to 1000 hours of schooling, Journeyman electricians are installers that work with the tools where psychomotor learning is more important than cognitive learning. To become a master electrician you are required to have one or two years experience as a journeyman electrician and a degree in electrical engineering or work as a journeyman electrician for four years. Then you are required to pass a written test that usually concentrates on electrical calculations such as those found Article 220 of the National Electrical Code and law.

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This is 2 entirely different fields. You would have to start as an apprentice and be in apprenticeship for 4 years before even becoming a Journeyman.

This would be comparible to a Mechanical Engineer wanting to take short-cuts to be a Machinist. Not gonna work.

Give an Engineer a rope & he thinks he's a Cowboy..... :~)

AEC Electric & Controls Michael R snipped-for-privacy@sbcglobalremovethis.net

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Yesh, just like the old guilds which dominated trade in medieval Europe.

In my opinion, credentialism is useless. Performance is the key factor.

Yeah, yeah I know, would I let someone who is not a certified doctor operate on me? Not if he is an idiot. In the good ols US of A, more people are killed by doctors than by automobiles. Makes you feel confidenct when you are going in to have someone check a mole on your back.

Just because you have a piece of paper doesn't make you good at what you do. I've come across so called professional engineers who could engineer their way out of a bag.


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Engineer your mind first. mind-x-press.com

Although there are no short cuts as you point out, you fail to see the problem for what it is. That makes you oblivious to finding a solution. If you want to solve a problem you must first proceed in a practical approach to identify the variables. As there is no flower, there can be no cake. When you have flower and egg and water and yeast, you don't have to stop at bread, cake. You can bake any number of goods. Hence, if you simply follow formulas the social system has provided, it will lead you to the only certain outcome... YOU LOSE!

Not entirely different but then the difference is what makes the difference. Related fields they are.

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Top poster who doesn't know the difference between "flower" and "flour."


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Most of the advice in this ng is worth exactly what you paid for it. It can be quite entertaining at times though.


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